Xiao Yongrui speaks with reporters during an interview at her office in Wuhan. [Xinhua]
Xiao Yongrui, a successful real estate developer from southeast China's Taiwan Province, has dedicated herself to the peaceful development of cross-strait ties and the promotion of traditional Chinese culture since she opened her business in the Chinese mainland under her father's requirement 25 years ago.
During a recent joint interview with Xinhua New Agency and Want Want China Times Group, Xiao talked about her family stories, the growth of her business in the mainland, and her belief in the importance of frequent exchanges amongst Chinese nationals across the Taiwan Strait.
She told reporters with a smile on her face that she is lucky enough to live in such a big "era".
A Witness of the Shift of Cross-Strait Relations from Confrontation to Dialogue and Cooperation
Xiao was born into a military family in Taipei, capital city of the southeastern island province, in the 1960s. Back then, the authorities from both sides across the Taiwan strait were at odds against each other and engaged in frequent military clashes. Therefore, Xiao's family were thrown into a deep panic when her father was deployed to the frontlines in Kinmen County, next to Xiamen in southeast China's Fujian Province.
Xiao recalled that she personally saw many tanks and anti-landing piles and often heard the sound of artillery during a family reunion visit with her mom to Kinmen. She added that her father often put a pistol under his pillow in case of emergency.
However, this kind of nervous life quickly came to an end when the authorities in the Chinese mainland made an announcement about the prospect of peaceful development of cross-strait ties on New Year in 1979. After that, the relations between both sides across the strait shifted from decade-long isolation and confrontation to exchanges, dialogues and cooperation.
After retirement from his post, Xiao's father got involved in business and took great pains to encourage his friends as well as his children to make an investment in the mainland, especially his hometown of Wuhan, capital city of central China's Hubei Province.
"In the past, who could have forecast that my father (a member of the Kuomintang or Chinese Nationalist Party) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) could become friends and forsake their decade-long struggle one day, " said Xiao during the interview.
Giving up Well-paid Work in the U.S. to Set up Personal Business in the Mainland
The emphasis upon Taiwan's exportation of various commodities to other countries and regions in media reports and Xiao's personal experience helped her realize the importance of peaceful development of cross-strait ties to the continual growth of Taiwan's economy.
Xiao chose to stay in the U.S. and worked for local financial ventures when she completed her overseas studies. At the height of her career in the U.S., however, Xiao gave up her American work and followed her father's call to join the family business in the Chinese mainland in 1992.
Xiao brought her business to Wuhan, the birthplace of her father, after she worked in east China's Shanghai for 11 years. Since then, she has never left the city. Right now, Xiao's firm has witnessed a fast expansion of real estate business in Wuhan, for which down-to-earth market research is crucial.
"I am lucky to personally experience the rise of the mainland's economy and to have found many economic opportunities in the giant market in these years," Xiao told reporters in her interview.